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“Rachel, please. I haven’t asked you for something like this in a really long time. Ever, really. I just need one night out as a grown-up.”

“But Kurt, I only get one night off a week. I need to rest my voice, do my laundry… You know how hard it is to work full-time on Broadway.”

“I do know that, Rachel. I still work full-time on Broadway, I’m just not performing anymore. Fine. I’ll find some teenaged stranger to watch my son.”

“Oh, Kurt. Stop it. Fine. Bring him to my place. He can hang out here with me.”

Kurt holds his breath while Blaine’s phone rings on the other end. He hopes against hope that Blaine picks up, because he hates leaving messages. Unfortunately, Kurt doesn’t seem to be too lucky, as he hears Blaine’s voice come down the line: Thank you for calling Blaine Anderson of Ariston Floral. I can’t take your call right now, so please leave a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.”

Kurt hangs up. He is petrified of saying the wrong thing on the voicemail. Idiot. Hummel, you absolute idiot. How hard is it to leave a message for someone who already told you he’s interested? Idiot.

He stares at his phone for a few seconds and then gets startled as it starts ringing in his hand. It is the same number he just dialed.
Taking a deep breath, he swipes to answer the call. “H-hello?”

“Hello. This is Blaine Anderson. I believe I just missed a call from you?”

“Blaine, hi. This is Kurt Hummel. From the flower shop. Gabe’s dad.”

“Kurt! I’m so glad you called! I take it you read my note?”

“Yes, that’s how I got your number,” Kurt replies, in his most innocent voice. “I’m so sorry that Gabe imposed on you like that. He really shouldn’t have.”

“Oh, I’m really glad he did. I never would have had the guts to ask you out otherwise. Although, I guess I really didn’t ask you out, did I? But I’d like to! I mean, if you’d be interested.”

Blaine sounds so nervous and awkward that Kurt can’t help but smile. “I would love to, Blaine. Where and when?”

Kurt and Blaine decide to meet up after work the following Monday, as Kurt is sure Rachel’s show is dark that night and he should be able to get her to watch Gabriel for him. It’s a bit of a struggle to get her to agree, but after a bit of arm-twisting and guilt-tripping, she finally agrees to keep him at her house for the evening, so long as Kurt brings him and picks him up. It is a little out of his way, but it’s better than hiring someone he’s never met before.

Kurt is still dressed in his work clothes when he drops Gabe off, but he only has about twenty minutes before he really needs to be at the flower shop, so he decides to take off his tie and wrap a scarf around his neck instead. Rachel has a few of his less favorite scarves that she has borrowed over the years, so Kurt borrows one back. He leaves the tie at her apartment, figuring he’ll pick it up when he comes back to pick up Gabe. It isn’t as if Blaine isn’t used to seeing him dressed for work, since he’s been visiting the shop every Friday for several months.
Kurt is a few minutes later than he wanted to be when he arrives at Ariston’s, but Blaine is waiting for him outside the locked front door. Kurt can tell when Blaine spots him because his face morphs from a concerned frown to an ecstatic grin, bordering on idiotic.

“Happy to see me?” Kurt asks.

Blaine blushes a bit and looks down shyly.  “Yeah, I guess I am. Is that okay?”

“It’s wonderful. I’m glad to see you, too.” Kurt responds. “So, where to?”

“I hoped you wouldn’t mind keeping it casual. I don’t usually eat a lot after work.”

“No, that’s perfect.”

“Great. Right this way, kind sir!” Blaine leads Kurt to the corner and across the street to the Macchiato Espresso Bar, a cozy little coffee shop and deli with a seating area around the outside edge.

“Why thank you, Mr. Anderson,” Kurt flirted back.

Kurt orders a wrap with chicken and avocado that looks sinful. Blaine gets a prosciutto roll with a huge piece of buffalo mozzarella and tons of vegetables. They each take a water bottle and sit down at a table in the corner.

“So,” Kurt begins, “Tell me how a person becomes a florist.”

Blaine smiles. “Well, that’s a bit of a long story. How much time do we have?”

Kurt grins back at him. “As much time as you need, or until 9:30, which is when I pick Gabriel up from the sitter.”

“I didn’t always dream of doing this, you know,” Blaine begins, his tone easy and a little flirtatious. “Growing up in Ohio, I was a music geek. My parents started me in piano lessons when I was five or six, and I absolutely loved it. I guess you could say I was a natural.”

“So, what happened? How does a musician end up making flower arrangements?” Kurt wonders aloud.

“Well, everybody starting out needs a day job,” replies Blaine. “Mine was a delivery boy for Mrs. Ariston. She started to teach me the basics of how to arrange things, so that when I’d make a delivery, I could make sure everything was just so before I gave it to the customer. I guess I had a knack for it.”

“You certainly do,” remarks Kurt. “Everything you’ve put together for Gabe and I has been beautiful.”

Blaine blushes. “Well, I must admit to a bit of an ulterior motive, there.”

“Oh, really?” Kurt asks, raising an eyebrow with a slight smirk on his face.

Blaine blushes even darker. “Well, I thought you were attached, but even so, I wanted you to notice me.”

Kurt feels his smirk bloom into a grin. “Well, how is that working out for you?”

Blaine’s eyes sparkle as he flirts back, “I don’t know; you tell me.”

Both of them burst into laughter at once, and Kurt decides to continue with his questions. “So what happened to your music, then? Did you just give it up?”

“Not at first. Deliveries were usually done with by 2:00, so it was easy to find time to play in the evenings. The trouble wasn’t the time, it was finding gigs,” Blaine says. “When Mrs. Ariston’s grandson was born, I was happy to pick up the afternoons at the store. The steady hours are great, and some of the customers are pretty hot.” Blaine looks down after he says that, as if he can’t believe he said it out loud.

Kurt snorts quietly. “Such a charmer, Mr. Anderson.  No wonder Mrs. Ariston loves you so much! Do you see yourself going back to music or performing any time soon?”

“Probably not. Although running a flower shop and creating beauty in the world with arrangements and bouquets wasn’t my original life’s dream,” Blaine explains, “somehow, it’s turned out to be exactly what I need to be doing. I get to add beauty to some of life’s most difficult situations, be a part of restoring broken relationships, and enhance the sweetest of life’s moments. It’s not the art that I thought I’d be creating when I dreamed of my future in high school, but it’s still art, and I love it!”

Blaine suggests at that point that they go back up to the counter for chocolate croissants and mochas for dessert. When they return to sit down, he says. “Enough about me. Tell about that beautiful boy of yours.”

Kurt feels his face light up like he knows it always does when he talks about Gabe. “Talk about long stories. Where to begin?”

“How about at the beginning? I already know he has another dad. Where’s Mom?”

“Well, Brittany is a friend of mine from high school. She’s a dancer, and she’s on tour with Beyonce, and before that, she was dancing for Madonna. Her jobs take her all over the country and at very odd times.” Kurt pauses to take a sip from his mocha.

Blaine takes the opportunity and asks, “So if Brittany is the mom and there’s another dad, how did you end up with Gabe?”

“When Sam and Brit found out she was pregnant, he was deployed to Afghanistan. He’d arranged for a three month leave around her due date, but an IED took out his convoy before he could get home.”

“Oh God, Kurt, I’m so sorry.” Blaine looks heartbroken.

“It wasn’t your fault, Blaine,” Kurt replies. “Anyway, I promised Sam I’d be there when the baby was born. Brit didn’t have insurance, so my name ended up on the birth certificate. Sam was gone, and he would have wanted his son to be taken care of, so the baby became Gabriel Evans Hummel. Sam’s last name was Evans, mine is Hummel.”

“Why Gabriel?”

“Brittany said that since his daddy was already an angel, he deserved an angel name.” Kurt pauses again for another sip of coffee and a bite of croissant before continuing. “So to make a long story even longer, I helped Brit take care of him while she healed and grieved. His first word was Dada, and that was me! When she got the second world tour, I asked her to sign custody over to me permanently. It just made everything so much easier.”

Blaine looks awestruck. “So, you’re taking care of a kid that has no blood relationship to you at all because you made a promise to help deliver him if his dad couldn’t get back from his tour of Afghanistan in time?”

Kurt smiles wryly. “Well, when you put it that way, it sounds a bit crazy. I prefer to think of it as, I’m raising my adoptive son, and I just happened to go to high school with his birth parents.”

“I have so much respect for you, Kurt. That’s an incredible story,” Blaine responds.

“Well, this is the part where guys usually run away. Instant family and all. So, thanks for dinner,” Kurt says, suddenly finding the bottom of his empty coffee cup fascinating.

“Kurt,” Blaine begins. “Kurt. Look at me.”

Kurt shakes his head.

“I’m still here.” Blaine reaches across the table to take Kurt’s hand in his own. “I already knew you were a dad when I asked you out. I’m not going to run.”

Kurt glances up at Blaine from the corner of his eye, his head still turned away. “I wish I could believe you, but I’ve been burned too many times.”

“I’m not like everyone else. All I’m asking is that you give me a chance.”

“A chance for what, exactly? What is it that you want from me?” Kurt asks.

Blaine squeezes Kurt’s hand. “I want to take you out on dates. Buy you dinner. Get to know even more about the incredible man I can already tell you are. Maybe, if you’ll let me, I can even give you a kiss goodnight.”

Kurt giggles at that. “Of course you can kiss me; I would love that. And everything else sounds wonderful, as well. Is it okay if we wait to tell Gabriel about this until we’re more certain about things? I would hate for him to get attached until we know for sure we want to give this a shot.”

“Of course. Whatever you think is right. You’re his dad.”

After their meal, Blaine takes Kurt’s hand and leads him out to the sidewalk. “Do we have time for a walk in the park?”

Kurt looks at his watch. “Absolutely. I don’t have to be to Rachel’s for an hour and a half. Lead on.”

Kurt realizes in no time where they are headed. “Bryant Park? How very romantic of you, sir.”

Blaine smiles brightly. “I’d hoped you’d think so.”

They walk together, arm in arm, chatting about the beautiful gardens, the different kinds of flowers and how well they’d work in bouquets, the difficulties of leaving work at work, and other more fun subjects, like dream vacations, famous people they’d like to meet someday, and most embarrassing moments.  They look at the monuments and fountains, and finally decide to stop and watch some older gentlemen playing pétanque on the green.

“I can almost imagine we’re in Provence, watching this,” declares Kurt.

“Is that one of your dream vacation spots?” asks Blaine.

“Not so much. I’m really more of a city boy. If I ever get to go to Europe, it would be Paris, Rome, Venice, and London. Not necessarily in that order, either.”

“Mmm.  For me? Amsterdam, Lisse, Versailles, and Barcelona.”

“Always for the flowers, Blaine?”

“Of course.”

The hour passes so easily, the next time Kurt looks at the time on his phone it is passed the time he should leave.

“Oh my God. Rachel is going to kill me. I promised I’d pick up Gabe by 9:30 and it’s already quarter after. I have to run.”

“Oh, I’m sorry. I completely lost track of the time as well.” They walk together towards the subway station on the corner.

 “Well, goodnight. I’ll see you on Friday, then.”

“Wait, Kurt. Just one more thing.” Blaine puts his hand on Kurt’s cheek. “Can I still have that kiss?”

Kurt smiles. “I did promise, didn’t I?”

Blaine leans his head to the side and slowly moves forward, pressing his lips gently against Kurt’s. Blaine’s lips are so warm and soft. Kurt melts on the inside, his mind buzzing, and leans closer as Blaine pulls away, chasing the warmth as they separate.

“Goodnight, Kurt. I’ll see you soon.”



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July 2015


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